Showsight Presents The Bullmastiff


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BULLMASTIFF INTERVIEWS submitted by American Bullmastiff Association, Inc.

1. Where do you live? 2. What do you do “outside” of dogs? 3. How important are head and body proportions in the Bullmastiff ? 4. Does the average person on the street recognize him for what he is? 5. Is there a color preference/prejudice in the show ring? 6. Are there any misconceptions about the breed you’ d like to dispel? 7. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? 8. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 9. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 10. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport? 11. As an AKC Judge, what is your opinion of dog shows today and how do you see the future of the sport? 12. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 13. What is your favorite dog show memory? 14. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? DENISE BORTON Number of years judging Bullmastiffs: I judged my first sweepstakes in 1993 and I am licensed to judge 24 Working breeds with full or nearly full credit to apply in the remain- ing 12. I have judged numer- ous specialties and supported entries in the United States and Canada, the Bullmastiff Club of Victoria annual specialty in Australia and the ABA national specialty in 2013. In 2018, I was the all-breed judge for the American Bullmastiff Association Top 25. Breed Involvement: I have loved the breed for 49 years and counting. I’ve attended national specialties in the US, Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Crufts. I bred the first triple-titled (long before agility was a recognized event) Bullmastiff, Ch. Lady V’s Hot Shot Shelah, CDX TD who was also the first to earn the TD title. I was the top owner-handler for four consecutive years with Ch. Ladybug’s Lady Caitlin, TD who won seven all-breed BIS, two national specialty BOB, two regional specialty BOB, two supported entry BOB, 64 Group placements, 28 Group One, BOB/Westmin- ster KC, the fourth to earn a TD and whose conformation record stands today as the #3 Bullmastiff/top-winning bitch of all time. I also breeder/owner-handled Ch. Ladybug’s Heartlink to Cait, TD who earned all championship points from the BBE class and was the seventh to earn a TD. With this bitch, I won BOS back-to-back at our national specialty in 2001 and 2002. Her littermate brother, Ch. Ladybug Shastid Brahminson, was an all-breed BIS winner as well as a Gold ROM producer

Dog Club Service/Offices/Recognition: I am a lifetime mem- ber of the ABA and a member of the Midwest Bullmastiff Fanciers (49 years). I have served as an ABA director (14 years), committee member for Judge’s Education, assistant editor to the ABA Bul- letin (five years), ABA Futurity Chair (12 years), ABA national specialty show secretary (four years), tracking test secretary/chair (three years), involved with health and research opportunities/ blood draws/Broad Institute (five years), various national specialty committee positions (14 years), certificates of appreciation from the ABA (three years), formal recognition in outside publications (six different books) that include Caitlin’s picture and accomplish- ments, author of seven articles for the Hoflin Annual and was the recipient of the AKC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award in 2009. I live in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the southwest corner of the “Mitten.” My degree is in Agricultural Science with a double minor in biology and chemistry. I retired after 28 years with the Upjohn Company, bench trained in veterinary pathology, conducting and writing the clinical phase of drug safety studies for the FDA. I am very proud of my eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchil- dren and have been married to their grandfather for 39 years. I enjoy raising beef cattle, gardening, orchid growing, quilting and travel—when time permits. How important are head and body proportions in the Bullmas- tiff? The headpiece and nearly square profile defines the Bullmas- tiff in the Working Group and sets it apart from other breeds. A Bullmastiff is identified by its headpiece. A dog that does not have the correct “square on a square” head might as well be a mongrel. Since the head is the business end of the dog, its function is to ram and hold. The standard is very clear in describing the expression, ears, skull, muzzle, stop, nose, flews and bite. The majority of the language in the standard is dedicated to the description of the head. The Bullmastiff accompanied the Gamekeeper at night to protect not only his master, the territory they covered, take out the poacher’s dog and apprehend a desperate individual who could be punished by death. The Bullmastiff had to be fit, athletic and mindful of its purpose to perform its ancestral duty; they were never intended to be simple companions or dogs of royalty. While there is no longer a modern-day use for the Bullmastiff, breeding correct and true to the standard dogs that are well received in performance events, all- breed Groups and Best in Show rings is a form of art, not an exact science. This is what allows a Bullmastiff to be uniquely different from one another and more specifically from any other breed. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Most likely not. The Bullmastiff is often mistaken for other Molossor breeds or incredibly—dogs from another Group. Is there a color preference/prejudice in the show ring? There should not be, but self-colored dogs seem to be rewarded more than brindles. The brindle is the preferred color for the Gamekeeper at night, blending in with the features of the landscape and dark- ness. Additionally, the brindle is prized by breeders to maintain correct pigment. The biggest misconception about the Bullmastiff? Tempera- ment that is appropriate for any Working Dog is usually not the same as a dog from another Group. The Bullmastiff was an inde- pendent worker and lived with the Gamekeeper and his family. They are to be confident and fearless, protector of family and home. That does not mean dull, spiritless or unreliable. Most Bullmastiffs tolerate and even enjoy showing in the conformation ring and par- ticipating in performance events. However, never assume them to be tolerant of being stared at, hovered over during a physical exam,



The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? My advice to those who are beginning in the breed is to be mindful of the quality of the Bullmastiff that they have to move forward with. Showing or breeding for convenience sake rather than what is compatible in the pedigree, virtues or faults, can be unfortunate. Showing and breeding begins with honestly evaluating the dogs being used as breeding stock and considering health, temperament and records in the stud pen and/or whelping box of the pedigree. Breeding and showing mediocre dogs that have little or nothing to contribute to the gene pool can be devastating not only for a breed- ing program but for future of the breed as well. As an AKC Judge, what is my opinion of dog shows today and how do I see the future of the sport? There are too many shows and not enough good judges. There should be more opportunities for youth/junior/pee wee events as they are the true future of the sport. My ultimate goal for the breed? We have had some lovely dogs who have made positive contributions to the gene pool, dedicated owners who have achieved historical firsts and fanciers who have championed health research. What has been discouraging is the number of Bullmastiffs in rescue situations. The ABA has spent an exhausting amount of money removing dogs from neglectful/abu- sive situations and restoring health to those who deserve far better than what they received. We have an excellent volunteer network to foster and provide the funds necessary to help these dogs through fund raising efforts, fostering, transporting and positive identifica- tion at shelters. The breed will always need dedicated fanciers at the ready for situations such as these. Breeders are becoming more aware of health issues that plague the breed and are more diligent in screening and selectively breeding to avoid them. Not always, not all breeders, but still a majority. The Bullmastiff will continue to increase in popularity as it has already in the past ten years. Breeders and owners need to be very aware of the risks that are involved when a breed is positively or negatively cast in the public eye. We should all consider ourselves stewards of the future for the dogs we love. We have globally man- aged to protect and ensure the welfare of the Bullmastiff for the generations ahead. My favorite dog show memory? I have won our national spe- cialty twice with the same bitch, the first to be awarded by an all- breed judge (Anne Clark) and breeder judge (Jack Shastid). Ch. Ladybug’s Lady Caitlin, TD was the first to win the national as a dual titlist and she won three Best in Shows in a row at one cluster. To date, she is the winningest bitch of all time (#3 Bullmastiff ) with seven all-breed best in shows, 64 group placements (28 group one), 96 best of breed out of 124 times shown. Outside of the conforma- tion ring, I enjoyed tracking. With Cait (the fourth of the breed to earn the TD), I worked very hard to get her to retrieve the article as Bullmastiffs are not natural retrievers. At the end of her TD track, she indicated the glove, picked it up and started to bring it to me. I was so excited to get the pass, I grabbed it out of her mouth and shot my hand up as required. So much for all the work to get her to retrieve! In my lifetime, I would like to see our breed longer-lived than what it is now. We have some afflictions that were unheard of when I first started in the breed almost 50 years ago. Progressive retinal atrophy, cardiomyopathy, sub-aortic stenosis, renal disease, hypo- thyroidism and orthopaedic problems such as elbow dysplasia were rarely identified. It was not unusual to have dogs living well into the double digits of 12-14 years of age. Now, we have dogs dropping dead of cancer as young as two years old. As a rapidly growing, heavy-boned breed, the Bullmastiff can be prone to joint problems if it is not carefully managed as a young puppy. There are oppor- tunities to participate at the national specialty by donating blood for the Broad Institute at MIT and the AKC has the wonderful Canine Health Foundation. These particular groups are very keen

or approached from the rear. Do not discount puppies or juveniles who are unsure and a bit hesitant in the ring, but never compensate an adult who acts shy or timid. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? Bullmastiffs excel and compete in performance with those breeds that are considered high achievers in those events. They are will- ing, capable and intelligent with an occasional stubborn streak. With the compatible owner and family, they delight in pleasing and participating in those activities that especially require the physical and mental capacity to do what they were originally bred for. We have CT, UDX, UT and many other high end titlists now in the breed. These same dogs could easily accompany the Gamekeeper for weeks, months and years. Owner-handlers are now winning in the Breed, Group and Best in Show rings. Bitches are getting their long-deserved recognition and instead of being retired to the whelp- ing box after earning their championship, they go on to a longer campaign. I love to hear of Bullmastiffs participating as therapy dogs in any situation, with children, hospital/nursing home resi- dents and veterans. We are so fortunate that the breed is inherently self-assured, stable and can adapt to almost any situation without missing a beat. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? Often times the media will incorrectly describe an unfortunate incident involving a Bullmastiff when it wasn’t really a Bullmastiff at all. Typically, it might include other Molossor breeds, but unless the fancy is aware of the situation, we are powerless to defend the breed. We do have Meet the Breed booths at various dog shows across the country and dedicated own- ers and breeders try their best to educate the public about the Bull- mastiff. Breeders must also be very careful in screening potential buyers so that the puppy does not fall into the wrong hands. All too often the entertaining and amusing ways of a puppy quickly become annoying and threatening as a juvenile when the behavior was not corrected initially. Bullmastiffs are not for everyone and as longtime breeder Carol Beans has often said, she judges the com- patibility of a prospective buyer by the way their children behave. If the children are disrespectful and out of control, she doesn’t sell that family a pup. I cannot think of one circumstance where increased popularity has benefited a breed. We now have Bullmastiffs in mov- ies, television commercials and owned by celebrities. This media attention can be very harmful to any breed when high exposure to the public creates a high demand to produce more dogs. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? While I am not known as a breeder, but rather an owner-handler, I can only comment on the handful of litters I have bred and the puppies that I have been involved with. Some breeders will men- tion that they can pick out an exceptional puppy at birth, but I often wonder if sentiment doesn’t play a big role in that decision. A Bullmastiff is a slow growing, large breed with some lines maturing more quickly than others. By the age of six to nine months, there should be obvious physical and mental characteristics that would help a breeder evaluate the puppy to see if it could be competitive in the conformation or performance ring. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Judges need to consider and reward proper headtype without being “headhunters” and fault judging. Remember to heed the excellent advice of Mrs. Anne Clark, “First choose the individu- als in your ring with the best of breed type and then reward the soundest of those typey individuals.” I wish judges would reward honest dogs regardless of who is on the other end of the lead and have the confidence to place those dogs ahead of inferior dogs that may benefit from professional handlers and advertising. I see nothing but positive and promising strides towards improving the Bullmastiff so that it is capable of competing with all breeds in all events.



are Working Dogs, a guard breed, dogs with independent intelli- gence, prodigious strength, and strong will. We all know that there are exceptions to that description, but most Bullmastiffs require early socialization and training and thrive if they have regular exer- cise and jobs to do. Whether guarding the property, showing in the conformation ring, working in agility, obedience, or tracking, Bullmastiffs form strong bonds with their owners and want to have something to occupy their minds and bodies. The old saying that “a tired puppy is a good puppy” can be true for the life of a Bullmas- tiff. Inactivity does not suit their nature. They do love their couch time and their people, but they need to be given routines, rules, and put to work. We also often hear that “Bullmastiffs are naturally good with children.” We are quick to point out that the Bullmastiffs and the children all need to be trained about appropriate behavior and boundaries and always supervised in their interactions. Even as puppies, Bullmastiffs are large dogs and can easily knock down children if not given the necessary training they need to develop house manners and methods of interacting with people large and small, young and old. If that advice is followed, Bullmastiffs are excellent family companions and are prized for their willingness to please their people and to protect them. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? All breeders face challenges when it comes to breeding according to the Breed Standard and improving upon the previous generation. Economically, it is a fact that large dogs are more expensive to feed, house, and to keep healthy. They are a major investment in terms of time and money, not to mention emotion. Physically healthy dogs are less expensive and also less stressful, of course, and good health with proper health testing is important in any responsible breeding program. It is crucial to test animals used in a breeding program and to strive to eliminate health problems that can interfere with quality of life and add unnecessarily to the expenses involved in owning large dogs. When it comes to societal acceptance, we want to ensure that our dogs can live full lives as good citizens. We need to be particularly careful, especially with large, guard dogs, about not only physical health, but also about temperament. We strive to breed dogs with correct conformation, of course, but nothing is more difficult to live with than a dog with an incorrect temperament, a dog unusually aggressive and/or fear- ful. As breeders, we must breed with all facets of the dog in mind, physical and mental, and we must be prepared to take responsibility for our dogs, always, and for any reason. The shelters are full of dogs that were once adorable puppies. Now, more than ever, we need to be responsible for the dogs we bring into the world. At what age do we start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? That depends upon which of us you ask! We often end up keeping a couple of puppies, most often because the one who catches the eye of one of us is not the keeper identified by the other. Sometimes a show prospect is evident right away, as was the case with one of our boys in a recent litter. He is fulfilling that very early promise, grow- ing up well and doing some winning. Sometimes, though, we keep a puppy for a very different reason and that puppy ends up surprising us. We had a large litter and a couple of the girls were several days behind and much smaller than the other puppies. One little girl was somewhat overlooked in early evaluations. We worked really hard to get her caught up and thriving, but kept her mostly because she was so tiny. We wanted to be sure she continued to develop well. She has grown up beautifully and just won a BISS before the age of two, breeder/owner-handled by Vince. Over the years, we have, as everyone has, kept the wrong dog and also sold the wrong one, more than once. The best part about those kinds of mistakes is that the dogs have wonderful lives as family companions and do not miss being part of our program at all.

on mapping out genome markers for DNA sequencing and research is funded in part by contributions to them. It’s only through this type of honest and voluntary participation by breeders and owners that we will be able to identify the maladies that are taking our dogs way too early.


We are Vince Grlovich and Lindy Whyte, Tryumphe Bullmastiffs. We live outside of Washington, Pennsylva- nia, which is approximately thirty miles south of Pittsburgh. Vince is currently Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a local company and has worked in marketing for more than 30 years. Lindy is a retired teacher and librarian. We breed, raise, train, rescue, live with, and love Bullmastiffs. Our family also includes a few Frenchies, a Clumber, a cat, and a couple of horses. We were

married and got our first Bullmastiff in 1996, while living on the southside of Pittsburgh. We chose a Bullmastiff for several reasons, in part because Vince’s work took him out of town and out of the country quite often and we wanted a dog who would protect us and our home. We soon moved to ten rural acres outside Washington, Pennsylvania, where we have been for more than 20 years. We breed only occasionally, in order to move our breeding program forward, are members of the American Bullmastiff Association, volunteers with the American Bullmastiff Association Rescue Service and have served the club in a number of volunteer roles. How important are head and body proportions in the Bullmas- tiff? Anyone reading our Bullmastiff Breed Standard will note that the Bullmastiff can be considered a “head breed” and that a great deal of detail is utilized in describing the size, shape, and propor- tions of a correct Bullmastiff head. The dog is not a Bullmastiff without a proper headpiece, which evolved as did the Bullmastiff ’s job. While that part of the animal is important, the headpiece does not do the whole job the Bullmastiff was bred to do, a job that requires a nearly square and substantial dog capable of a burst of speed and the strength to take down and hold an intruder. Balance, bone, and back are so important in this working dog. Form really does follow function and the Breed Standard has to be our template. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Many people do recognize a Mastiff breed, but most do not immediately differentiate between a Bullmastiff and, say, a Boerboel, Dogue de Bourdeaux, Mastiff, or even a Neapolitan. We take the opportunity to educate folks and to point out the characteristics of our breed. We enjoy answering questions about the Bullmastiff and explain- ing the similarities and differences when it comes to mastiff breeds. Is there a color preference/prejudice in the show ring? We have been showing our Bullmastiffs for about 25 years and we have noticed fads or trends when red dogs are more popular, or when fawns become more prevalent. We began with a couple of brindles and both of us still have a soft spot for them. Brindle was the origi- nal preference for breeders of the “gamekeeper’s night dog,” as it served as effective camouflage. Brindles can be challenging, espe- cially when it comes to a campaign. We have found that the con- sensus is that brindles can be more difficult for judges to evaluate. The biggest misconception about the Bullmastiff? There are several misconceptions we could address, but probably the most dangerous and the most difficult to dispel is the preconception that “Bullmastiffs are big, smushy couch potatoes.” Bullmastiffs



share my passion for breeding and showing dogs. It is a big part of all of our lives. I worked as the manager of a veterinary hospital for 30 years. I have been breeding and training dogs for almost as many years. I started in 1980 with Rottweilers and Escalade Bullmastiffs, but in 1990, I chose to focus my attention on the Bullmastiff breed. I am a board member of the California Bullmastiff Fanciers club, a member of the American Bullmastiff Association, and a 2020 ABA National committee chairperson. I am also very active in local char- ity events. When I get involved in a project, interest or hobby, I am all in! I love working with people and helping others whenever I can. I try my best to “pay forward” good will to others as a way of thanking the incredible people who have mentored me in my life- long journey with dogs. How important are the head and body proportions in the Bull- mastiff? Both are extremely important. When breeding Bullmas- tiffs, it is essential that form follows function. The function of the 19th century Bullmastiff was to serve as the English gamekeeper’s dog. His job was to protect the game on large estates and assist in capturing poachers without mauling them. The Bullmastiff was developed to have a moderate, well-proportioned structure that allowed the dog to track and cover ground quickly. The moderate, square head with the wide under jaw aided the Bullmastiff when knocking down and pinning poachers. This working dog was a family member that came in every night to lie by the fire. His devo- tion and reliable temperament were crucial characteristics in the Bullmastiff ’s development. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? I would say no. There are many times I’m approached and asked, “What kind of mixed breed is that?” Or, “Is that the Turn- er and Hooch dog?” Or, “Look, Mom! It’s the dog from the Sandlot movie?” Is there a color preference/prejudice in the show ring? During my 30 years of exhibiting Bullmastiffs, I have noticed that fawns, red fawns, and reds do the most winning. Regrettably, the brindle, which was the foundation color in England and provided natural camouflaging, is not as frequently rewarded. The biggest misconception in the breed? Bullmastiffs do not get nearly enough credit for their intelligence and loyalty. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? Yes, the misconception is that Bullmastiffs are just big, sloppy, couch potatoes that lack the capability and/or aptitude for earning working dog titles. This is farthest from the truth! Extremely intel- ligent dogs! I’m proud to say I know several owners and their dogs that are stellar in this area. What special challenges do breeders face in the current econom- ic and social climate? Wow, these days we are faced with challenges in our world that few of us could ever have imagined. Covid-19 has changed all of our lives in one way or another. Some of us have and will be more profoundly affected by personal losses than others. My basic nature is to be an optimist. My response to this crisis is to encourage people to reach out and band together as we never have before. If we are to return to any degree of normalcy in the months to come, we must work together. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I start watching my puppies at around five weeks. I begin evaluating puppies at eight weeks and continue to evaluate them up to one year of age. During this time, I am mindful of temperament, conforma- tion, breed type, head piece, and balance. Most breeders make our best estimates of show potential between seven and eight weeks. The most important thing about the Bullmastiff dog for a new judge to keep in mind? The Bullmastiff Breed Standard was writ- ten to be the criterion for our breed. The headpiece, specifically the muzzle, was not intended to be long or narrow. The Bullmastiff

What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The Breed Standard reads: “Other things being equal, the more substantial dog within these limits is favored.” It should be understood that this does not mean that bigger is better. It means that, with animals of equal merit, the larger dog within the Standard’s guidelines is to be favored. Our Breed Stan- dard describes a Bullmastiff within ideal weight and height param- eters. Dogs should weigh between 110 and 130 pounds and stand between 25 and 27 inches at the withers and bitches should be from 100 to 120 pounds and 24 to 26 inches at the withers. Sometimes a slightly bigger or a bit smaller dog may be the better animal. Size is by no means the only thing that makes a Bullmastiff a Bullmastiff. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to our breed and to the sport? We were very lucky as newcomers. So many people were so welcoming. We would wish that for anyone wanting to learn about Bullmastiffs. We found a wonderful mentor and also met many other fanciers who reached out to us and made us part of their community. We hope that we never forget what it was like to be the new kids and what it is like to have friends with whom to ask questions, share ideas, and celebrate our dogs. Inclusion and information are the means by which we can ensure that new people choose to become fellow fanciers. Our ultimate goal for the breed? We hope that the Bullmastiffs of the future are the products of the wealth of education and experi- ence available to breeders today. We have depended so much on the veterans of the breed who came before us. So many breeders have been incredibly generous in educating us and in sharing their expe- riences. We have achieved our success because of their dedication and desire to mentor us as much or more as by our own work. We all need to be mentors, for the good of our breed. Someday, we hope to look back and feel as though we left the breed a little better than we found it, that our dogs contributed mental and physical health to the breed, as well as correct conformation, and that we played a small role in sound Bullmastiffs for the future. Our favorite dog show memory? That also depends upon which one of us answers the question. We had a recent Best In Specialty Show win with a young bitch we bred at the Celtic Cluster in York, Pennsylvania, that we mentioned earlier. As breeder/owner-han- dlers, we won’t soon forget that win with Gilda. The Bullmastiff is not for everyone. We have found their stead- fast nature and independent spirit to be among their most admi- rable qualities, but for some people those traits have the potential to translate as stubbornness and intractability. Our mentor told us when we were new Bullmastiff owners that we should train the pup- py to be the dog we wanted to share our home with for the next ten years. Bullmastiffs are independent workers–they were bred to be. So if they are given few guidelines and little training, those adorable wrinkly-faced puppies will take as much control as they can and make their own rules. We have fostered a number of Bullmastiffs as rescue volunteers and so many of them are adolescents or young adults whose owners did not invest the necessary time and energy in training.

PAMHENSON People who know me say that I smile—a lot! Most of the reasons behind those smiles I owe to my two beautiful children, Jamie and Justin; my family; and my cherished friends. I was born and raised in California, and I have been owned by dogs all my life. I have been blessed that my children



muzzle should be broad and deep. It should be 1/3 the length of the entire head with a wide under jaw. The skull should be square in shape and strong. The image of a square on a square comes to mind when considering the Bullmastiff muzzle in relationship to the total head. Shoulders should be muscular, but not “loaded.” Movement should be free, smooth, and powerful with the topline remaining level between the withers and loin. The breed’s moderate angula- tion should match both front and rear. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Get newcomers involved from the start. Refer them to local and national breed clubs. Invite them to Meet The Breed booths at local dog shows. Offer to introduce them to a breed mentor. Host pot luck Puppy Play Days or amateur handling classes. Educate new puppy owners about the breed from the first day they come to see your puppies. Share the many activities/sports they can explore through AKC, such as conformation dog shows, agility, rally, track- ing, etc. Start a FB page for each litter’s puppy owners to build camaraderie and support. My goal for the breed is to produce puppies that are as close to the American Bullmastiff Breed Standard as possible—dogs that are wonderful family members and good citizens. If we breeders plan carefully, we will see continued improvement in successive generations. In a perfect breeding world, our litters should demon- strate evolution, not revolution. A solid temperament, good health, and a conformation that is true to the standard is the ultimate ful- fillment of the Bullmastiff breeding goal. This is not to say that we don’t make mistakes along the way, because we all do. But to persevere and continually strive toward that ideal is always my goal. My favorite dog show memory? The memory that stands out most was in 2008 when my daughter, Jamie, was showing our boy Nick (CH Escalades All Tricked Out) and finished his champion- ship under AKC judge Patricia Sosa. The very next weekend at the Farwest California Bullmastiff Fancier’s Specialty, we bumped Nick up to compete as a special. Under respected breeder judge Billy Brittle, Nick was awarded Best of Breed with 100 entries. I was completely overcome with emotion, overjoyed and bursting with pride as both a mother and a breeder. It still gives me chills thinking about it. AMY HODGE

with proportions looking like a cube on a cube. The breed standard general appearance is that of a symmetrical animal, showing great strength, powerfully built and very athletic. The body has to have the ability to catch and power and mass to knock down a person. The head has to have the size and width of jaw to hold down a per- son. The combination of these two must tie together to complete the overall function the Bullmastiff was bred for. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Not so much in my small town. Most people at first glance think they are a Mastiff or ask what breed they are. Some have told me of a friend that has a Bullmastiff that weighs 180+ pounds. I often find myself educating them about the differences between the Bullmastiff and the Mastiff, their histories, as well as how they are also related. Is there a color preference/prejudice in the show ring? Unfor- tunately, I believe there is a color preference by judges in the ring that is probably not a conscious one. Originally the Bullmastiff was known as the “night keepers watchdog” to help catch poachers on large estates. In order to not be detected in the dark of night, their brindle color was preferred by their keepers. Unfortunately, this dark, striped pattern I believe also makes it more difficult for judges to see the overall structure and features of brindle dogs in the show ring. Over some lengthy time there seems to have been a favoring of fawn and red color dogs in the ring with less brindles representing the breed. I think the biggest misconception about the Bullmastiff from those who are not experienced with the breed is that they are an aggressive breed. Sometimes persons will take historical breed lit- erature expressing their guard purpose along with Bullmastiffs intimidating size as a given that they must be a dog that is overly protective as their main temperament. Though their instinct to pro- tect family and those closest to them is still part of their natural make-up, they are happy to give an expression of concern about a situation to their owners with just a bark. When told to stop, I have found that most Bullmastiffs are satisfied they have done their job and have pleased their owners. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? For me an important misconception from their impressive power- ful structure to their guard lineage is that they are meant to be an outside dog for home security full-time or a majority of their daily lives. This is the farthest from the truth. Bullmastiffs are very needy, affectionate dogs that need to be with their families on a daily basis. They need to have daily interaction with the family they love and get positive affirmation that they are part of the family as well. Though they love to be outside like all dogs they do not do well in the heat or extreme cold. Bullmastiffs are happiest finding themselves literally by the sides of their family. The only downside to this is that Bullmastiffs honestly believe that they have the poten- tial to be “lap dogs.” What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? The dog show world and dog breeder world have been uprooted during the Covid-19 Pandemic we are in right now (March - ?? 2020). Without dog shows, many dogs have not accomplished titles. Reproductive veterinarians in many states have been told reproduction is not an essential procedure and cannot be performed. Many breeders are looking for veterinarians that can do the health clearances their breeds are required. With the economy so uncertain many breeders have halted their breeding programs. Beyond the logistics of breeding and raising puppies we need to know there will be perfect homes for our puppies to go to. Our world for the meantime will not be the same, but our love of our breed will continue to grow. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Choosing a puppy that may be a part of my breeding program / show ring also comes with careful evaluation. With careful consid- eration of each breeding I first evaluate the dog’s genetic history for

I grew up showing and judging horses. My husband fell in love with the Bullmastiff breed and begged for one for Christmas 1992. Our three children enjoyed many 4-H proj- ects including dog, rabbit, swine and clowning. I have enjoyed learning to show my dogs. I’m one of the lucky ones that my husband loves our dogs as much as I love him. I’m working on

my eighth generation and am excited for the future of TNT Bull- mastiffs. My goals are to always keep learning, seeking advice and keep a consistent type. I had lived in Michigan all my life until 2014, when my husband and I moved south to Georgia for two years. The past four years, we have lived on five acres surrounded by farmland in Dalzell, South Carolina, embracing our southern lifestyle. I enjoy express- ing my creativity in many ways; painting, drawing, creating dog show leads, and floral arrangements, to mention a few. I love flip- ping furniture, creating yard art, giving new purpose to old things. I also enjoy spending time caring for our several gardens around our property. How important are head and body proportions in the Bullmas- tiff? The Bullmastiff is known as a head breed to many. The head of a Bullmastiff is what distinguishes him: 1/3 muzzle to 2/3 skull



health and temperament. Then I look for phenotype to maintain my qualities of type per litter. After seven generations it is getting easier to see the present qualities I strive for in my breeding pro- gram. At about five weeks they start to come together. At weeks six and seven they still are changing. Usually I can choose what I’m looking for in my breeding program at eight weeks. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Our standard is very important for the health of our breed. Being a large working breed and the demands on their bod- ies, it’s our responsibility as breeders to breed for health. To me the judges have been given that same responsibility as to which dogs they give recognition for in the ring as the most correct. Overall a square, balanced frame is essential. The standard says slightly lon- ger than tall. Slightly is a very loose term. I would want a new judge to understand how a long back affects the function and health in terms of the rest of the body. A longer back may allow for adequate movement, but may also compromise the health of the dog’s joints long-term. For the balance aspect, understanding and recognizing correct 45 degree angles of shoulder and hip are essential as these angles are what allow the dog to have powerful reach and drive. This is essential to do their originally intended work of chasing down and knocking down a poacher. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? I think there are many ways of attracting newcomers to the breed and sport. I have often found with my litters an interest by a future owner to get involved in showing and the desire to be mentored. These have been rewarding relationships that have also been long- term. The shows with “Meet The Breeds” have drawn new people to Bullmastiffs with the opportunity to see the dogs up close, interact with them, and be educated about our breed. My ultimate goal for the breed is to continue to breed healthy Bullmastiffs with loving dispositions that best represent the stan- dard of the breed. I hope that my work becomes a lasting positive contribution to the overall gene pool of the Bullmastiff world. My favorite dog show memories were with my heart dog, ROM GRCH. TNT’s Ground Breaker, “Kubota,” at Top 25 awards ceremonies. More recently, my favorite memory has been winning BOB and BOS at a double specialty. These honors were won showing my 14-month-old female CH. TNT’s Rise N Shine, “Kashi,” from the Bred-By Class. I had only been able to show her once as a puppy before this show. I did not show her again for about seven months until the American Bullmastiff Association National Specialty in 2018. We won Winners Bitch at both pre National Specialty shows and the National Specialty 2018. I’d like to express the importance of breeders to do all of their health clearances on breeding prospects. Heart tests are especially crucial for the continued improvement of good health in the Bull- mastiff breed. The ABA national club health research committee has been working very hard to address heart conditions in our breed. I personally would like to see all breeders do echo-cardio- grams for the future and longevity of Bullmastiffs. VICKIE PLATT & NICKHOLLAND We created NV Bullmas-

dogs in the early 1980s and have enjoyed the sport and how it has enhanced our lives for over 37 years. We hope to continue to be consistent in the breed and look forward to returning to a prosper- ous successful future in show dogs. We live in Waterloo, Wisconsin. I am currently semi-retired and enjoy the outdoors with my family and dogs. I currently work part- time for a Natural Dog Treat company, Nick owns his own busi- ness, Aggressive Metals, in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. The head and body proportions are vitally important in the breed as it creates the essence of a Bullmastiff, with the head type strong and defined, correct pigment, width in under jaw and a square on a square appearance. The body should be nearly square and balanced front to rear and appear to have substance and strength on the stand and moving. I believe the average person on the street can recognize a cor- rectly bred Bullmastiff if they are familiar with the different types of dogs in general. I have, unfortunately, noted a preference/prejudice in the ring when it comes to colors; light fawns to red/red fawns with black masks are much preferred to brindles in my opinion. I myself have seen very nice correct examples of the breed in brindle that have been disregarded in the ring, which is an unfair prejudice to color. The biggest misconception about the breed, I believe, is because they are large and can be intimidating due to their size, or they are regarded as guard dogs that are potentially dangerous and not preferred as a family pet. This goes along with the misconception I’d like to dispel about the breed. Bullmastiffs are wonderful companion dogs with gentle, sweet dispositions that are loyal, loving giants and dedicated pets to their human family members. Some of the special challenges breeders are facing now in our current economic and social climate are what the future will hold for exhibitors, whether or not we will be in controlled numbered environments as far as show sites are concerned. We also need to consider where the future of the breeder is when it comes to placing potential litters. Will the market for Show/Pet puppies be viable, or will our economy be so repressed we will no longer be able to function as before? Many, I feel, will just need to sustain their lifestyles and have to revisit whether or not exhibiting or breeding dogs in the future will be feasible or even possible. We are hopeful that some sort of Normal will return and I feel the long-term dedicated breeders will weather this storm. We evaluate show potential puppies at eight weeks of age. From there the next age of evaluation for show-worthy puppies will be between four to five months as this is the age the permanent teeth are coming in and will be a deterrent for show prospects if bite devi- ates too far from the standard. The next age if the pup is still show- ing positive signs of show potential would be around 10-12 months at this stage we would be looking for height and body density. For puppies that are being evaluated for show potential that the breeder is not keeping, the timeline is different as the breeder has to deter- mine more in a shorter period of time. Many times the litter will need to be evaluated on prior litters out of the same sire or dam, and if the breeder knows how their litters progress from eight weeks to adulthood. We look for puppies that are correct to the standard at eight to ten weeks of age that show the most show potential, and follow the puppies in their show homes to help evaluate from a distance. In my opinion, the most important thing for a new judge to keep in mind is to know the breed standard, and what it is about the breed that makes a Bullmastiff a Bullmastiff. A nearly square dog that is balanced from front to rear, correct clean head type, a strong dog that is well muscled and clean on profile or on the move. There should be no doubt that you are judging a Bullmastiff.

tiffs 20 years ago as a passion for the Bullmastiff breed. We have worked diligently to ensure that we bred and showed our dogs over the years to the best of their potential, with many recognizable accomplishments. I (Vickie Platt) started in show



I think the best way to attract newcomers to our breed is to edu- cate them. Get them involved in breed clubs, attend dog shows or fairs. The more involved the breeders are with welcoming newcom- ers to ask questions or participate, the better adjusted the newcom- ers will be with the breed and the sport of exhibiting show dogs. My ultimate goal for the breed is to breed a dog consistently that adheres to the breed standard. We work diligently to produce a dog that not only fits our ideal for the breed, but also what the written standard calls for. There is much variance in the breed to date, and as a breeder our goal for the breed is to have continuous consistency in our line for the future and for generations to come. Our favorite dog show memory would undoubtedly be winning the Bullmastiff National Specialty 2018 with our own bred-by dog. As a breeder/owner there is no greater accomplishment and no fond- er memory in my many years in show dogs. The Bullmastiff overall is not just a big, impressive dog that draws a crowd because of his large outward appearance, but a sweet soul with enduring, loving eyes and a heart to match. This breed will always be a part of our household and lives because they are so much more than just a dog. They become a part of you and your life. I can’t imagine not having one or more in our lives long after the shows are in our past. JANE TREIBER I live in western Washington on a ten acre farm with a river. Outside of dogs, I love to plant and grow flowers. I walk everyday on the farm and in local parks with the Bullmastiffs and my Bor- der Terrier. I enjoy spending much time with my ”adopted” grandchildren and going to their school and sports events. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfortable with the placement? I do not want the Bullmastiff to become any more popular because it is not a breed for everyone. The numbers make it difficult to find majors in the show ring. However, it is not hard to find people that want to own the breed. With this, we also do not have as many “backyard breeders” as some breeds and not as many rescue dogs to place. How important are the head and body proportions in the Bull- mastiff? Regarding head and proportions, these two characteristics are the essence of breed type. Is there a color preference/prejudice in the show ring? The two colors most often seen are the fawn and red. However, the brindle is the original color (almost impossible for the poacher to see) and yet, they have a much harder time finishing. Serious breeders always try to keep the brindle in their lines. The biggest misconception about the Bullmastiff is that they cannot do performance events. A properly structured and correctly sized dog can compete. People also believe that because they are big, they are not safe to be with kids. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Most people immediately think that they are English Mastiffs. What special challenges do breeders face in our current eco- nomic and social climate? People think that rescuing a shelter dog is the right thing to do. They believe that purebred dogs, Bullmas- tiffs included, are just way too expensive. They fail to understand how much money goes into breeding a healthy litter and that along with that, they can have expectations of what the temperament and health of the puppy will be. In addition, Bullmastiffs do need exer- cise, so they need a yard, nearby parks or trails to ensure the physi- cal and mental health of a Bullmastiff.

At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I can see the potential at about seven to nine weeks. The most important thing for a judge to always remember is the head is a cube on a cube and that long is wrong! Judges are critical in welcoming new people to the breed and the sport. Most Bullmastiffs are owner-handled in our part of the country by young, new exhibitors. Remember, they are learning, and they love their dogs. A smile, a helpful hint and patience go a long way. Let them know that you are really giving their dog a fair assessment. My ultimate goal for the breed? I would like to see the ABA tackle more genetic testing. In addition, the ABA should recog- nize breeders that do health testing and get CHIC numbers for their dogs. My favorite dog show memory is of Bruin (BIS, MBISS Gold- GCH Banstock N Highpoint New Day Bruin at Kimo, ROM) taking a BIS under Houston Clark. The BIS photo is with Luke Baggenstos holding his baby son and his daughter standing beside Bruin. She slept with Bruin every night that he was at their home. The last thing that I want to share is that Bullmastiffs will pro- tect their families naturally. They do not have to be trained as the instinct is natural, particularly when it comes to children. Owners need to pay attention to the body language of their dogs as they are particularly aware at night and in new environments. They are cau- tious and watchful without making noise. This goes back to what they were bred to do: listen, find the poacher and protect the prop- erty and gamekeeper. TERI WINSTON

I currently live in the beautiful Pacif- ic Northwest about 35 minutes south of Portland, Oregon. I am a veterinar- ian and owner of a three doctor practice in Oregon City, Oregon. My practice is 100% companion animals (dogs and cats). I graduated from Kansas State University in 1997 with my DVM, then did a post-doc at Colorado State Uni- versity in 1998, and then a three year

Internal Medicine Residency with a Masters Degree in Pulmonary Immunology. I have been blessed to have worked at the same prac- tice for 18 years and owner for 13 years. Head and body proportions are the essence of the Bullmastiff and are central to describing their type. They are what you should recognize as a Bullmastiff if you only see a black silhouette. The “nearly square” proportions of the Bullmastiff differentiates the breed from the rectangular English Mastiff and the square Bulldog. A Bullmastiff that is long in the loin is incorrect as is one with a nar- row muzzle or scoop underjaw. Both traits are lending themselves too far in one direction or another to either of the parent breeds. The head is very well described in our breed standard so we should lend a great deal of weight to it in the show ring. The cube on cube description of the Bullmastiff muzzle and skull is what is recognizable as Bullmastiff. The small, triangular dark ears frame the square skull. The muzzle should have good bone fill under the eye and not just heavy wrinkle of skin. I like to really feel the boney structure of the head and muzzle to identify if there is correct struc- ture to the skull or if there are just pretty wrinkles making up for it. I feel the Bullmastiff is still relatively unknown to the general population. Most people will recognize them as some sort of Mas- tiff, but not specifically as a Bullmastiff. I have been asked if they are a Dane cross or a small English Mastiff before. I especially get questions when they are going through their awkward puppy stage where their heads are changing just as fast as their bodies are. That


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